the Independent Student Publication of the University at Buffalo, Since 1950
Music Issue, Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Former wrestler Conti excels musically Story on page 14
Volume 62 No. 38
2 Chainz turns up downtown Buffalo Story on page 10
Lovin’ the crew
Childhood bond, talent propel R&B group Nuzzcrew to campus success BRIAN JOSEPHS Senior Managing Editor It’s a brisk weekday afternoon and junior biological sciences major Uwaoma Silachi is relaxing in his apartment at the Villas at Chestnut Ridge. As he opens his MacBook and plugs in his keyboard, he explains he’s not really in a music-making mindset, but creating songs isn’t necessarily something he can get away from. It’s an art form that has been built into him since he was a young talent in his Bronx church choir. Creating pleasant instrumentals, singing those ethereal vocals and his poetic lyrics isn’t his job – it’s his stress reliever. So it wasn’t a surprise when Silachi composed an entire instrumental in about 20 minutes. He started by quickly making a melody on his keyboard, even though he said he never had formal training with the instrument. Then the percussion kicks in with the effects following right after, and soon, Silachi has a well-crafted beat on his hands. But the ambitious artist said this beat is only a start – a foundation – much like the current hype for the music group he’s a part of, Nuzzcrew. Nuzzcrew, an R&B/soul group from the Bronx, is composed of Silachi; his lifelong friend and cousin, Nnabu Eric Enyia, a junior pharmacy major; and Justin Johnson, a Sanford-Brown College graduate. Together, they’ve accomplished what many other college artists haven’t. Many in the UB community have praised Nuzzcrew’s amiability and raw musical talent, which is apparent through the 1,015 likes its Facebook page has gained. In addition, Nuzzcrew can claim something few college musicians can: they have hits. “Don’t Die On Me” is the trio’s most well known song and it has earned well over
Satsuki Aoi /// The Spectrum
Nnabu Eric Enyia (left) and Uwaoma Silachi are two-thirds of Nuzzcrew, an R&B/soul group that grabbed the attention of many UB students over the course of just one semester.
35,000 views on YouTube. “Mysterious Girl” – a song that borrows the instrumental from Rick Ross’ popular “Diced Pineapples” – is receiving coverage from Cleveland radio station Z107.9 and is also a hit with local fans. But Silachi and Enyia are still hungry. To them, their current accomplishments are only a start.
“Who we want to be and where we are now are nowhere close,” Silachi said. “If I don’t see the buzz, if it’s not in my face, there is no buzz.” Choir boys Enyia and Silachi aren’t the type to flaunt their talent. Both carry a humble and quiet personality, which juxtaposes their larger-than-life vocal performances. They don’t crave to be the center of attention, either;
The harpist AMI DIALLO Staff Writer Most 10-year-olds spend their time playing outside, watching cartoons or enjoying the “Hakuna Matata” life of being a kid. For Taylor Gorman, a freshman mechanical engineering major, her memories from age 10 are quite different. She was busy performing at a wedding; she was playing the harp. “When people walk into a room and see you play the harp, there’s always an initial shock because it’s not every day you see that,” Gorman said. “It’s kind of awkward at first because they stare at you like, ‘What is she doing?’ And when I came to UB, people didn’t believe me at first when I told them I played the harp, so it was funny seeing their reactions.” Gorman was playing at her friend’s aunt’s wedding when she was 10 years old, and though she was one of the younger guests in attendance, her talent with the harp stole the show. Eight years later, with more experience under her belt, Gorman continues to awe spectators with her talent, while living out her passion for music. Since being introduced to the piano and the harp at the age
Enyia’s only performance at UB was at an open mic night at the Perks coffee shop in Ellicott Complex. They’ve had this calm demeanor since they were boys in the First Igbo Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the Bronx. Silachi and Enyia were the first youths to join the small church’s choir. Continued on page 7
Ain’t nuthin’ but a P thang With UB Ph.D. in hand, Dr. A prepares to teach class on hip-hop LISA KHOURY Senior News Editor
Courtesy of Meg Bragdo
Taylor Gorman has been playing the harp since she was 10 years old and doesn't plan on stopping because she is an engineering major.
of 5 by her mother, Gorman has taken lessons to improve her skills. She became a member of her high school orchestra in her hometown of Orchard Park, N.Y. “I enjoyed playing them both simultaneously, but the harp is different and it’s really rare to find a harpist,” Gorman said. “When I’m playing the harp and performing, I feel driven to give it my best. When I’m stressed or need a break from keeping up with school, I often sit down at the harp or piano and play to release these feelings.”
To Gorman, the hardest aspect of playing the harp is the technique. She said many people think it’s only about plucking strings, but it has a lot to do with posture and finger positioning. As a freshman, Gorman has achieved academic accolades along with her strides in music. With her busy schedule between participating in UB Concert Band and taking 18 credits, Gorman’s biggest challenge has been managing her workload. Continued on page 4
To some, rapper MF Doom’s lyrics are trivial: “The rest is empty with no brain but the clever nerd/ The best emcee with no chain ya ever heard.” To Alex Porco, they’re poetry. The assistant professor of poetry and poetics at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) received his Ph.D. from UB in 2011. His focus was rap music. “What I discovered is people who have been doing work in cognitive psychology and linguistics had developed ways of explaining why rhymes work, but they’ve never applied it to rap music; they’ve only applied it to poetry,” Porco said. The 32-year-old, who taught English classes at UB from 200511 as a Ph.D. student, doesn’t just see rap as poetry. He believes the sounds in rap music that have sent parents into hiding and kids into raptures are actually a form of primal connection.
Humans can connect intimately at a rap concert, he explained. “You go to this place, and there’s this sound that connects everyone there because we all know the lyrics,” Porco said. “So you get an actual, real sense of community, an intimacy through sound that you don’t get through visual. I see people at the show; that’s not what’s connecting me to them. It’s the fact that – and I mean this in a real way – we’re all sharing the vibrations of the music. You can feel it.” Porco, an author of two books of poetry and editor of one, believes elements like rhythm, sound, rhyme and voice matter in how people make meaning of the world. The Canadian native grew up listening to ’90s rappers like Raekwon, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. He was inspired to study his passion for a living after taking Distinguished English Professor Bruce Jackson’s graduate seminar, Oral Poetry from Homer to Tupac. By fall of 2008, Porco began relentlessly studying the sounds, poetic elements and social meanings in rap music. Continued on page 8
Opinion 3 Life 9 Arts & Entertainment 10,11 Classifieds & Daily Delights 13 Sports 14
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
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EDITORIAL BOARD Editor in Chief Aaron Mansfield Senior Managing Editor Brian Josephs Managing Editor Rebecca Bratek Editorial Editor Ashley Steves News EDItors Sara DiNatale, Co-Senior Lisa Khoury, Co-Senior Ben Tarhan Lisa Epstein, Asst. LIFE EDITORS Rachel Kramer, Senior Lyzi White Jacob Glaser, Asst. ARTS EDITORS Elva Aguilar, Senior Adrien D’Angelo Duane Owens, Asst. Lisa de la Torre, Asst. SPORTS EDITORS Nate Smith, Senior Joe Konze Jon Gagnon, Asst. PHOTO EDITORS Alexa Strudler, Senior Satsuki Aoi Reimon Bhuyan, Asst. Nick Fischetti, Asst. PROFESSIONAL STAFF OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Helene Polley ADVERTISING MANAGER Mark Kurtz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Aline Kobayashi Brian Keschinger, Asst. Haider Alidina, Asst. ADVERTISING DESIGNER Joseph Ramaglia Chris Belfiore Ryan Christopher, Asst. Haley Sunkes, Asst.
December 5, 2012 Volume 62 Number 38 Circulation 7,000 The views expressed – both written and graphic – in the Feedback, Opinion, and Perspectives sections of The Spectrum do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board. Submit contributions for these pages to The Spectrum office at Suite 132 Student Union or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Spectrum reserves the right to edit these pieces for style and length. If a letter is not meant for publication please mark it as such. All submissions must include the author’s name, daytime phone number, and email address. The Spectrum is provided free in part by the Undergraduate Mandatory Activity Fee. The Spectrum is represented for national advertising by both Alloy Media and Marketing, and MediaMate. For information on adverstising with The Spectrum visit www.ubspectrum.com/ads or call us directly. The Spectrum offices are located in 132 Student Union, UB North Campus, Buffalo, NY 14260-2100
Think about the children Letters to the Editor D.A.R.E.’s updated curriculum ignores the real issues
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (more commonly known as D.A.R.E) isn’t going to be educating much on drug abuse resistance anymore. Yes, you read that right. D.A.R.E. has been a driving force in drug prevention and education since the 1980s, but the organization is all but eliminating the focal point of its campaign. After recently determining the conversation is not “age-appropriate” for fifth and sixth graders, the non-profit is reforming its curriculum to focus less on drugs and more on character development. According to D.A.R.E.’s one-page outline of curriculum changes, its new “keepin’ it REAL (kiR)” elementary curriculum will only address marijuana after it “has been established to be an age-appropriate topic for the individual concerned classroom.” D.A.R.E.’s program changes put a bubble around kids who deserve honest education, pretending they haven’t heard references or been inquisitive prior to hearing what it has to say. An assumption can be made that this is all a response to revenue loss following years of backlash and an announcement from the Government Accountability Office claiming D.A.R.E. has actually correlated with increased drug use. D.A.R.E. America’s revenue has declined from $10 million in 2002 to a barely breathing $3.7 million in 2010, causing the organization to rack up milliondollar operational deficits. Granted, the curriculum will start focusing more on alcohol and tobacco use and abuse and will help kids make responsible decisions after being given information on the drugs. Alcohol is considered to be the most powerful and damaging drug, and nicotine is almost always ranked No. 1 or in the top three of the most addictive drugs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 72 percent of teenagers have consumed alcohol by the time they graduate and 37 percent have done so since eighth grade. Additionally, nearly half (44 percent) of America’s youth have tried cigarettes by 12th grade. But according to D.A.R.E., the near-exclusion of marijuana in new policy is because “most students in this age group have no basis of reference to the substance. Research has found that teaching children about drugs with which they have never heard of or have no real life understanding may stimulate their interest or curiosity about the substance.”
Not everyone takes away something from it, but D.A.R.E. is good for that age group. The conversation is age-appropriate because it’s the last point before these kids move onto middle school or the point when they’re transitioning into middle school. It’s the last age of innocence, the point where they’re faced with the influence of older middle students and, in some cases, high schoolers. In fifth and sixth grade, D.A.R.E. is still a force instead of a joke, and drugs are still an idea instead of an action. Whatever choices the students are going to make, they should still be informed and learn the consequences. By ignoring drugs in the curriculum and hoping that kids apply their teachings from a couple weeks of tobacco and alcohol education, D.A.R.E. is ignoring the fact illegal and illicit drug use is something that could happen. “Age-appropriate” or not, the current marijuana use rate by kids ages 12 to 17 is nearly 7 percent, and the rate for hallucinogens among the same age group is 1 percent. In addition to whatever they can find that can be smoked, snorted or shot, prescription drug use is starting to gain further popularity. In 2010, approximately 7 million people were current users of psychotheraputic drugs taken non-medically. One in 12 high school seniors have reported nonmedical use of Vicodin; one in 20 have reported abuse of OxyContin. Unfortunately (and whether the organization likes it or not), D.A.R.E. has some responsibility to inform kids about all possible scenarios because parents – who want to believe the best in their children – don’t see it as age-appropriate or necessary or just don’t want to do it. And neither wants to fuss with the issue of legality. Tobacco and alcohol are easier subjects – at least for some age groups they’re legal. For the rest in a thick encyclopedia of options, D.A.R.E. just hopes that no one will notice. If it acts like they don’t exist, nothing could possibly go wrong. If D.A.R.E. is going to update its program, it can forget the demographic it is supposed to be helping. This isn’t supposed to be about the money or the critics; it’s supposed to be about the kids who its curriculum is supposed to be helping – the kids who it wants to walk away from the lessons and actually get something out of it. Email: email@example.com
No art, no heart Keep art funding as part of federal and state budgets The students of the arts find themselves having budgets cut and losing programs to make way for new plans and new proposals by both the state and federal governments. Cutting the funding for arts would be negligible – not just to the other responsibilities this nation has but also and especially to the people who depend on it so much as an outlet for creativity and as an escape from reality. In art, money is equivalent to value, so how much your state invests per capita is a fair assumption of how much the state values art. We’re lucky enough to live in the state with the largest arts budget. In 2010, New York’s budget increased 6.4 percent to over $52 million. Per capita, it invests $2.50 per person in arts funding. Other states are not so lucky and several took heavy cuts to funding, such as Michigan with a projected decrease of 81 percent (Michigan’s budget in 2010 was $1.4 million). California invests the least per person regarding the arts at 12 cents a person, while the District of Columbia spends the most at $11.11 per person. What do all these numbers mean? Compared to the year prior, 37 states narrowed their funding for arts programs. In those states, school programs were cut, employees were laid off and students lose scholarship money for something they invest so much of their time in. The topic of public funding for the arts became a punchline during the election when in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney stated he would cut funding for PBS and other government programs that were not absolutely essential by half if he was elected. The comment spawned not only an entire series of memes but also conversation and something frequently missing from the election: logic. According to National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), the funding cuts would diminish the states’ ability to “strengthen education outcomes, promote civic vitality and ensure that all citizens have an opportunity to enrich their lives through participating in the arts.”
Not to mention, three of the programs Romney swore to cut were the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. They contribute to 0.0012 percent, 0.0004 percent, and 0.0004 percent of the federal budget, respectively. In cutting arts funding, you don’t just lose the program. You lose the education, the opportunities and the dreams of everyone involved. Every action has a consequence, and anything with monetary value has the potential to cause major damage if taken away. The kingpins looking to cut down funding are only thinking of dollar signs and not the people it affects. It’s hard to fathom the reasons for wanting to cut funding. From a selfish standpoint, it’s your own entertainment you’re eliminating. Looking at it from all sides, though, art is an outlet for the people involved, an escape in many cases and a distraction in others. The beauty of art is the opportunities it creates. It allows students to step outside the walls of equations and analysis to create something unique. And for the students who dedicate themselves to it, it’s not a throwaway. Academic ineligibility forces students to pay attention in every aspect of their education. Those marching band shows and roles in musicals don’t happen if your other grades aren’t up to par. It keeps kids busy and interested and out of trouble. In truth, the programs need to undergo some reform. But as a whole, the good the arts do far outweighs any of the negatives. It’s far too valuable to lose, and funding cuts would lead not just to the collapse of the programs but also to the devastation of the people involved. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Freedom of Expression and Freedom for All CHRISTIAN ANDZEL On Monday at UB, there was an absolutely terrific event focused on human rights and it was hosted by a club named Amnesty International which is a student-run club on campus that focuses on human rights throughout the world. On Monday, students, including myself, participated in a ‘‘global write-a-thon’’ where letters went to governments which currently hold political prisoners. The letters bring with them hope that the government will release the political prisoners. We wrote for people around the world to be given freedom. Political freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Unfortunately, a club who cares deeply about human rights for all human beings was, in fact, prohibited and barred from tabling with other clubs that deal with human rights. My club, UB Students for Life, whose mission is to advocate for men, women, children and the pre-born, has been told several stories and excuses to why our one club was prohibited from participating in something we believe in so dearly. UB Students for Life promotes and advocates for people around the world in order that everyone on this planet is given life, liberty and essential human rights that allow happiness. UB Students for Life has expressed views that pertain to these human rights, including torture, the death penalty, as well as prisoners of war or political oppression. The preceding is very important because one of the many inconsistent excuses I heard and received from eboard members of Amnesty International explaining their obstruction toward another human rights club from this human rights event was because they did not believe we supported the preceding views because of our ‘‘image’’ on campus. Where were these Amnesty International e-board members when UB Students for Life talked about women’s rights, women’s education around the world, prisoners of war, as well as torture? That is right – they were never there. They used a blanketed stereotypical view to label our club and paint our club as having an ‘‘image’’ problem because they see us only dealing with one issue, abortion, which is far from the truth. Having been highly active in over seven clubs in my two and a half years here at UB, I can tell you with great confidence that every club has certain issues they care strongly about. Distinctly, I remember a club that felt strongly for community service, one for
a relationship with God, one for dancing, one on culture, and the list goes on. Sure, UB Students for Life is a ‘‘prolife’’ club when dealing with the pre-born, but if someone actually knew about our club and did not blanket us with stereotypes and discriminate on what we believe, then they would know that UB Students for Life believes being ‘‘prolife’’ is knowing that everyone, from the political prisoner to the girl in sex slavery, deserves human rights and protections. It is a downright shame that the host club, Amnesty International, would put one issue, that is not even relevant nor would it have been relevant during the event, over that of which the entire day was built upon, and that is voicing as one group, built of many different clubs and beliefs coming together advocating for the rights of political thought and freedom of speech/expression. More excuses of why UB Students for Life was barred from tabling with other clubs in the name of freedom was because one Amnesty International e-board member said they did not want political clubs involved. Students for Life is not a political club at all because even though we stand firm against issues such as the death penalty, abortion and forced imprisonment, these issues can be politicized. You cannot take issues such as those and blame it on the entire club and thus bar a club from advocating in the name of freedom for all around the world. Back and forth they came with another possible reason of why we were to be prohibited and to me, it seemed like a ping-pong game of back and forth with the ball being the illegitimate reasons. I, for one and I hope you reading, would agree that if you created a club and were very proud of it and all of the accomplishments, that you would never stand for such manipulation upon what you and your club believe in. I find it extremely sad that a group of students who want to fight for human rights and, in this case specifically, political prisoners, would, in fact, play politics themselves and drive a wedge in between two clubs who ideologically fight for human rights. They drove a wedge by using one issue. Because of one issue that the two clubs differ on and are on ‘‘opposite’’ sides of the issue, the president of Amnesty International said one club’s freedom of speech and expression on an entirely different issue, advocating for the release of political prisoners, is suppressed. Amnesty International’s e-board put politics above coming together as Continued on page 4
Shaolin Warriors or Shaolin Monks? MATTHEW KOPALEK I just wish for people to understand that, contrary to the countless mentions in this past Spectrum article “Fast as lightning,” the performers of the “Shaolin Warriors” show are not monks. The essential spirit of Shaolin Buddhist philosophy is to cultivate our heart through compassion toward all beings; many times these “Shaolin Warriors” are seen eating meat after a show, leaving people all throughout the world with a skewed understanding of Buddhist monks. Monks are not performers who travel the world in large groups to perform, they are spiritual guides
for those seeking to end the suffering of living beings. If you review the “Shaolin Warrior” promotional materials, flyers, and announcements you will see no mention of them being monks, or even students of the Buddha. This is because they are merely performers; one of hundreds of performing troops who tour the world. There are more than 100 schools for “Shaolin Martial Arts” performance in and near Shaolin in China, where young Chinese kids and teens train in the hopes of becoming a performer who can make ends meet. This all of course takes nothing away from their athletic prowess and ability to do a ten-foot somersault!
Continued from page 1: The harpist “Overcoming this challenge comes with time management and motivation to succeed,” Gorman said. “I believe my biggest accomplishment so far has been my academics.” Though Gorman is new to the college scene, she’s going through a journey with her friends and family – like her older brother, Cody Gorman, a junior psychology major with a pre-dental concentration. Cody describes his sister as “very outgoing, compassionate and extremely intelligent.” The two siblings have a great relationship – better than most, Cody said – because they’re always there for each other. Some of Gorman’s biggest fans are her family members and their support for her passion for music is something she cherishes. “Really, I’m the only musically inclined [person] in my family, but they definitely support me,” Gorman said. “My mom loves it. In high school, she even bought the minivan for the harp so we could take it home just so I can play for her.” One of the main things Gorman misses from her high school days is playing sports. She was involved in soccer, basketball and lacrosse. But since she started college, she has had to sacrifice these sports. She has, however, picked up Frisbee. Gorman wouldn’t change her college experience for anything. To her, the freedom she’s experienced is the best part. Friends have been a big part of her college transition and Gorman feels lucky to find a good group of people to share her experiences with, like her friend Katherine Czerniejewski, a freshman biomedical engineering major. “It’s amazing to watch as well as to listen,” Czerniejewski said. “She is unique
as a person, so it’s only fitting that she plays such a unique instrument.” Though Gorman no longer plays the harp at weddings as much anymore, she continues to play in school plays and at a few UB events. She has also performed at other events such as an event for the Honors College, a fashion show and at a Canisius College alumni dinner. “I remember cutting my finger on a beaker in chemistry the night before I had to play for the Honors College,” Gorman said. “I immediately ran upstairs to the harp just to make sure I could still play for the event.” Luckily, no damage was done and Czerniejewski was able to see her perform, allowing her get a grasp of Gorman’s talent for the first time. As Gorman continues to embark on her journey at UB, she hopes to keep playing the harp and wants to take more music classes. She wants to declare music as her minor. Gorman plans on going to graduate school with her mechanical engineering major. She has ambitions to one day manage an engineering firm or become a traveling representative for a firm because she loves traveling. One of the best aspects about college for Gorman and Cody is being able to share the college experience together as a family. With her brother around as a shoulder to lean on, Gorman plans on conquering all obstacles that come her way. “[As far as going to college together] I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Cody said. “Although we both have very busy schedules, we make the time to see one another – sometimes over meals or even just for a quick hug. It’s such a comforting feeling knowing your family is there.” Email: email@example.com
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Continued from page 3: The Freedom of Expression and Freedom for All clubs that want to advocate for those being oppressed due to violations of human rights. Haven’t people had enough with politics already and the divisiveness it causes? Why fight so hard for something you believe in, yet at the same time prohibit another club from doing the same thing just because you may disagree with them on one entirely non-relevant issue? Are not the political prisoners throughout the world better than that of petty arguments of an ideological disagreement? According to Amnesty International, no. Every club should be focused on the specific issue on that specific event and nothing else. UB Students for Life would have not been any exception. Lastly, I will share with you a word that sums up this entire situation: hypocrisy. You may ask, why hypocrisy? On Monday, we – and I say we because I did not let individuals’ bigotries deter me from fighting for human rights around the world – wrote letters to governments advocating for the release of political prisoners and for human rights in general because we as human rights defenders, myself and I hope those in Amnesty International, believe strongly in freedom of speech and expression. I ask for them to look at their
latest actions in dealing with Students for Life, which is a club that believes and advocates for the same things as they do because I know, as do others throughout this university that now have heard this very disappointing story, how their principle of freedom of expression and speech is, in fact, a paradox. How can we ever be legitimate human rights defenders when we cannot even protect the fundamental liberties of freedom of speech and expression here in the confines of our university? How can a club, so determined to instill these basic and essential freedoms throughout the globe, at the same time silence and prohibit an entire club from tabling and advocating those same rights because of excuses that are not consistent with the truths my club? Did this really happen over one issue of disagreement or because of ‘‘image’’ or because of a false assertion of being a political club? This, in its entirety, is hypocritical, deplorable and unconscionable while advocating at the exact same time for freedom of speech and expression for others, while failing to be ethically consistent when dealing with peers at their own university.
Continnued from page 14: Rolling through a Blizzard The Bulls’ special teams wrote the success for the weekend, with the penalty-kill squad being out on top. In addition to his first shorthanded goal on Friday, Ganci scored a second with a minute and a half left in the second period to put the Bulls up 4-0 over Canisius. Buffalo exploded for four more goals in the third. The team is in high spirits after its last home win and will look to finish the semester off strong and get ready to start intense league play in the new year. “We have Central Oklahoma coming back,” Glick said. “They’re top 15 in the nation and I’m really looking forward to that. They shut us out twice in Oklahoma last year so it’ll
be nice to get one back on them. I feel like this is the team that can do that. We have a lot of league games coming up, Canisius coming back and Senior Night of course.” Before the Bulls can settle into thoughts of big family dinners and dreams laced with sugarplums and Santa Claus, they have one more weekend ahead of them with two critical league games. Next weekend, they will line up against St. Bonaventure at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and RIT at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Continued from page 1: Lovin’ the crew They were soft-spoken, but Akunna Chika-Akogu, the church’s youth director, remembers their performances had the power to inspire. “They’re all right. They’re quiet, but when they perform, it’s different,” ChikaAkogu said. “If you see them in church or the events we go to, they look really quiet and really soft-spoken – like they can’t hurt a fly. But when you see them perform – when those kids perform – oh my God. It’s something else.” It was as if their voices were nothing short of angelic. Silachi and Enyia were tenors in the choir (the highest-pitched male voice), which was a very important position because of the small size of the church. However, the cousins filled the job well and encouraged other youths to join the choir with their performances, according to ChikaAkogu. Silachi and Enyia grew along with the church’s size. After spending years singing as a proclamation of their faith – and their love of music – the duo was able to take part in a landmark event for the First Igbo SeventhDay Adventist Church. In 2010, the church was chosen to be a representative in General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists – an event held every four years that features performances and lectures from churches worldwide. The cousins were the only youths in the choir to perform. “It was the very first time the church got invited, and it was the very first time any youth from our church was part of something that big,” Chika-Akogu said. The church’s appearance at the conference marked the high point in the relationship between the lifelong friends and the church. But like right after a fire’s peak, Chika-Akogu said, the bond started to decline as the duo went off to college. The Nuzzcrew members didn’t completely sever their ties with the church in the years since they’ve moved on. They still sing at choir recitals when they get the chance and even performed at the church over Thanksgiving break this year. The church, like music itself, is an important part of the cousins’ way of life. In fact, they said they’ve been able to remain humble in the face of hype because of prayer. High school and Blessed Enyia and Silachi were recognized as incredibly talented vocalists in the church. In high school, they were regular students – or “chillin’,” as Enyia calls it. Enyia became more known for his athletic abilities at Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers, N.Y. He specialized in the 400m and 800m races in track and field. Silachi was somewhat known for his singing ability, but it was average compared
to the other talents at New Rochelle High School. “I wouldn’t lie. I wasn’t the best singer in the school. There was people who can really, really sing in the school,” Silachi said. “I was up there, though, but because of the fact there were people that can really, really sing, they looked at me like, ‘He could sing, but he’s [OK].” But Silachi continued in his musical endeavors. He took advantage of a Mac laboratory in his high school to teach himself how to produce instrumentals. At first, he started experimenting with GarageBand (a popular music application found on Mac computers) and started recreating popular songs, like “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper)” by T-Pain. Curiosity led him to create original beats. “As time passed, I focused more on originals because I felt that it was more fun to toy around with the beat and produce something new than to rearrange something that has already been mastered,” Silachi said. Enyia and Silachi’s stock picked up again in 2009 when they joined two other singers (who they chose to keep anonymous out of respect) for a quartet named Blessed. The group specialized in religious songs and it wasn’t too long before they became a hit within the church community. Blessed performed in many churches in New York City and earned praise because of the almost natural harmony of their voices as well as their individual talent. The fact the group made its own music instead of just covers drew attention as well. “What I really admire about them … is their ingenuity; they write a lot of their songs,” Chika-Akogu said. “Blessed wrote a song called ‘No Temptation.’ It was amazing. They write their songs and they take time … it’s not something where you sleep, you wake up and you give it. They take their time to perform. They’ll probably perform one song for a while … but when they come out with their new song, it’s worth it.” They only lasted a little over a year, however. After gaining a following, egos started to split Blessed apart. Some of the members wanted to do more solos to showcase their vocal ability. Enyia felt members started doing it for the attention rather than the love of singing. Blessed’s career ended in ugly fashion. “In one performance – our last performance – one [of] our members got drunk before he sung on stage,” Silachi said. “You know when you don’t realize something when a guy messes up? It didn’t hit me until we got off stage. I couldn’t believe it.” Silachi enrolled in SUNY Morrisville while Enyia started going to Westchester Community College in 2010. The distance confirmed Blessed’s breakup.
College and forming Nuzzcrew The very thought of his first two years of college bored Silachi as he spoke about it. These years he was just a civilian, going to classes and hanging out like a regular college student. Enyia, on the other hand, took the time to flex his artistic muscle. “That’s when I started writing poetry and songs,” Enyia said. Nuzzcrew started forming during this down time. Enyia held a summer job at Playland, a popular amusement park in Rye, N.Y. It was there that he met Johnson, a Harry S. Truman High School graduate. Johnson previously produced for young rappers at his old high school and didn’t have much experience producing R&B-flavored beats. However, when he heard Enyia randomly singing around him, he immediately became interested in teaming up. “It took us a while to get to the studio and we finally got to the studio. I told my cousin about him – he was away at school at the time – and I told him I got a guy at the studio,” Enyia said. “They met and ever since then we was like we got to make a group.” Johnson isn’t a singer and doesn’t have the childhood bond Enyia and Silachi share, but he said the dynamic was still smooth. He adapted his production skills to the R&B/ soul aesthetic to meld with the cousins’ background. And with this, Nuzzcrew – a blend of R&B, soul and nearly everything in between – was born in 2011. “You know how the Bloods say, ‘What up, my buzzin’?’ and the Crips say, ‘What up, my cuzzin’?” Silachi said. “Nah, we’re neutral: What up, my Nuzzin’?” Nuzzcrew’s first song, “So & So,” succinctly captures the group’s main goal: making music that’s timeless. The single encompasses the poetical lyricism of Frank Ocean mixed with the harmonies of The Temptations. A 50-year timespan encapsulated in a little over four minutes. UB success and the future Nuzzcrew’s first performance was at UB when Silachi took the stage at the Black Student Union’s Sickle Cell Auction in the Student Union Theater last September. The singer had just transferred and was looking to make a name for himself at his new school. He started his performance with a cover of Jay-Z and Rihanna’s hit, “Umbrella.” It received a modest response from the crowd, but Silachi really caught the audience’s attention with his next song: “Don’t Die On Me.” The audience responded with massive applause and from that point, the song became a hit among the UB audience.
“It was a really soulful song,” said Emmanuel Nortey, a junior human services and nursing major. “I was shocked that was a regular person singing that song. When I heard that I was like, ‘Wow, this dude is talented.’” Silachi hasn’t just relied on UB performances, as he’s performed at Buffalo State and Daemen College as well. He’s also taking steps to establish Nuzzcrew’s name outside of Buffalo. On Nov. 9, Silachi performed at the University at Albany for the African Student Association’s (ASA) fashion show. Ezinne Nwokocha, a member of the organization and Silachi and Enyia’s cousin, convinced its executive board to invite him to perform by playing some of his music. After they heard it, Nwokocha said inviting him was a nobrainer for ASA. The problem was convincing the rest of the attendees at the fashion show that Silachi was indeed a talented performer. Silachi had no problem doing so when he performed at the show. “At first, not a lot of people were excited about it because they didn’t know who he was,” Nwokocha said. “But as his performance got going people were enjoying [it]. Even though they didn’t know who he was, they still saw how great the music is. They were cheering him on.” A successful performance and solid following at UB are small victories in the eyes of Silachi and Nuzzcrew. The group will release its EP, Tuned Poetry, on Dec. 24. Nuzzcrew also wants to further the quality of its music and establish itself as the band to look out for. But for the cousins, giving music their undivided attention isn’t so easy. It’s hard for artists to be able to make a name for themselves in a harsh music industry, while degrees at least offer some sort of security. While the cousins genuinely want to succeed artistically, there’s still a feeling that maybe a medical or science profession may be the more promising route. So the group is at a crossroads: does it give music its undivided attention and live up to its full potential, or do the cousins follow the suggestions of their Nigerian parents and focus on education? If Nuzzcrew does decide to go the musical route, can they actually make it? “I’m not trying to be 30 years old still trying to make it in music and I know that’s not going to be the case if I put my all into this music,” Silachi said. Regardless, fans are waiting to see what choice they make. Email: email@example.com
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Continued from page 1: Ain’t nuthin’ but a P thang Porco spent hours at UB with headphones on, marking stress patterns of lyrics and analyzing rhymes while working toward his dissertation, “Sound off: rhythm, rhyme and voice in rap and hiphop,” which he is currently turning into a book. He analyzed rap songs like he would a poem. He revealed the wide spectrum of rappers and how their sounds influence listeners in different ways. In “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A., he worked the lyrics “Here’s a murder rap to keep you dancin’/With a crime record like Charles Manson,” in an attempt to get inside the artist’s frame of mind. Porco found the word “rhyme” is embedded in “crime.” He thinks N.W.A. said “record” to refer to not just a musical recording but criminal record. The “dancin’” and “Manson” rhyme is meant to be a comical contrast, contrasting the horrific and L.A.-specific 1969 Manson murders to hip-hop’s connection to party culture.
When a rapper rhymes one word with five words, the meaning of the line will register to a listener stronger than rhyming two words, like “breath” and “death.” He also discovered Diddy falls under the category of rappers who purposely use simple rhymes to sell records. Porco studied the significance of rappers’ voices. For instance, Ice Cube seems “threatening” because he uses an angry voice as a gangster rapper, and his lack of complex rhythm patterns is purposeful in avoiding sounding “too artful” – a disconnection from the idea of being a gangster. Jackson said rap is a vital, oral poetic tradition that Porco “studied exhaustively” and did a “fabulous job with.” As his teacher, Jackson said he learned more from Porco than Porco learned from him. Porco is one of the first people to write a book analyzing the textual elements of rap. Yet, Porco struggles making people see hip-hop as a legitimate form of study.
Courtesy of Alex Porco
Alex Porco studied rap music at UB while getting his Ph.D. from 2005-11. The poetry professor is looking forward to teaching a hip-hop course next year at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he currently teaches.
Many “raise an eyebrow” when Porco says what he does. “I was never going to get a job as a hip-hop guy,” Porco said.
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“I had to have something quote on quote, something not legitimate for me, but legitimate for people who hire. They had to know I do traditional poetry and then they would let me do the hip-hop stuff.” Ronan Crowley was a Ph.D. student in the English Department the same time as Porco. Crowley was concerned with explaining and analyzing hip-hop’s formal strategies, as much as Porco was interested in why scholars don’t usually study hip-hop. Crowley wonders what that says about “our canons of taste and our sense of literary value.” Hip-hop has actually been studied within academic work in various disciplines for close to 20 years, according to educational leadership and policy professor Gregory J. Dimitriadis – who wrote Performing Identity/Performing Culture (Intersections in Communications and Culture), published in 2001. The book was about young people and their connection to hiphop as an alternative curriculum.
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He and Jackson were on Porco’s dissertation committee, and both described his textual study of rap as “powerful” and “important.” “In my mind the question is: why would you not study hip hop?” Dimitriadis said. “It’s become such an important part of people’s lives all around the world. How can we ignore it in the academy?” Porco will be teaching his first hip-hop class next year as a graduate course at UNCW. His newest infatuation is with stand-up comedy. Though he doesn’t know what he is going to do with it yet, he has already started analyzing how comedians deliver their jokes, when they change their voices and when they pause – just like he does with rap. To Porco, stand-up comedy will just become a part of the negotiation that comes with teaching rap. He finds the academic worth in what others view as simple sects of popular culture.
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A glimpse at the UB Jam Club SAMANTHA OLIVIA YUEN-MAK Staff Writer On a Sunday afternoon in the Student Union Theater, students gathered to orchestrate music from all genres. From classical rock to funk, the spectrums of genres vary. The UB Jam Club has been rocking out for 10 years, according to Philip Dreisin, a junior economics major and president of Jam Club. After a great night of relaxing and playing music with his floormates in the Ellicott Theater, one of Dreisin’s friends invited him to check out the Jam Club. Dreisin, who has been playing the guitar since the sixth grade, found it refreshing to come to UB and meet students who enjoy playing music as much as he does. Since joining Jam Club, he has made an effort to practice more and takes music more seriously now. Rather than hand out flyers or write on chalkboards in classrooms, most of the promotion for the club comes by word of mouth, according to Anders Maybeck, a sophomore political science major and secretary of Jam Club. When Maybeck saw Jam Club on the list of Student Association clubs, he was ecstatic. He thought it was going to be difficult to find time and a place to play the drums. “I was hoping that there would be some kind of music club that was offered that would give me that opportunity,” Maybeck said. “As soon as I started to come to Jam Club, it seemed like a laid-back place, and they had solid equipment that I could use.” Jesus Villalobos, a sophomore environmental science major and vice president of Jam Club, said most people who come bring diverse musical preferences and playing styles to the group. “There are obviously basic jam elements of music like funk or rhythm and blues,” Villalobos said. “Every person who comes has different styles. They kind of incorporate [them] into what they do when we actually
SHOW YOUR UB COLORS
Satsuki Aoi /// The Spectrum The members of the UB Jam Club, pictured in Student Union Room 330, get together every Sunday to play a variety of diverse types of music.
put something together.” These multiple styles of music can be heard coming from the Student Union Theater every week when the 20 members join together for a jam session. Instruments are set up on the stage and any member is welcome to get up and play, according to Villalobos. The diverse group of people ensures no two songs are the same. He enjoys the opportunity to play with such a unique group. “In college, you don’t have so many opportunities to play,” Villalobos said. “I like to be loud. There is nothing like cranking up the volume when you play, and when you’re in a small room, your possibilities are limited.” This all changed with the formation of the band Venture Pilots. Venture Pilots is made up of four members of Jam Club, including guitarist Villalobos, bassist and vocalist Adrien D’Angelo, guitarist and vocalist Dreisin and Maybeck on drums. They describe their music as a wide variety of genres but relate themselves to jam bands like Aqueous, Phish and Umphrey’s McGee.
According to Maybeck, the band was able to release two original songs on SoundCloud, which enabled the members to promote their talents. Venture Pilots is also a moneymaker for Jam Club. It receives compensation towards the club because they perform at SA events. This extra money can help benefit the club when it comes to buying equipment, Maybeck said. Future plans for Jam Club include setting up a small music festival next semester on Baird Point for local bands such as Universe Shark and Venture Pilots to come together and play, Villalobos said. Universe Shark is made up of the founders of Jam Club and UB alumni. The club hopes if the event is successful to eventually turn it into an annual Spring Fest-type event for local bands to come to UB and perform. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Adrien D’Angelo is the Arts Editor at The Spectrum.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012 ubspectrum.com
Arts & Entertainment Turnt
The Royal Pitches thrill and chill
2 Chainz performs at Town Ballroom
MICHAEL POWELL Staff Writer
ELVA AGUILAR Senior Arts Editor Rap music has been notorious for its correlation with violence since its birth, both socially and lyrically. In 2011, two men were stabbed during rapper Lloyd Banks’ concert at Town Ballroom, and since then, very few rap acts have returned to the Queen City. Monday night, however, the same venue hosted Atlanta’s own 2 Chainz, and while the venue resonated from jumps, screams and bass, fans left Town Ballroom euphoric and unharmed. Standing at 6-foot-5, decked out in an all denim outfit and enough jewelry to blind the front row, 2 Chainz began his set with his verse from G.O.O.D. Music’s “Mercy.” The song began at the bridge and played back Kanye West’s verse, giving 2 Chainz the perfect assist for his spirited introduction. A massive on-stage screen was placed behind the rapper and played back images all night from previous shows, music videos and lyrics, giving heed to the lone tweet the rapper sent out hours before his show. “BUFFALO, N.Y. … get ur [sic] popcorn ready! It’s about to b [sic] a MOVIE! BOATS TOUR!!!!” 2 Chainz tweeted. 2 Chainz followed up “Mercy” with his verses on “Got One” and “Beez in the Trap,” which caught the attention of the women in the venue, as they sang along to not only Nicki Minaj’s hook on the track, but word for word to 2 Chainz’s rhymes as well. The crowd reaction was similar during his performance of “I Luv Dem Strippers,” the sole reason second-year graduate student Hope Tuck came to see the show. “[I got here] right on time for my favorite song … I’m Mrs. 2 Chainz, so it would only be right that I
Elva Aguilar /// The Spectrum
On Monday, rapper 2 Chainz performed at Town Ballroom for a group of rambunctious and enamored fans.
came to see the mister,” Tuck said. The energy at Town Ballroom increased after every track and reached a chaotic level when the rapper performed “Riot,” the standout song that brought the ex-duffle bag boy back to the spotlight last year. The nature of 2 Chainz’s songs brought out something seldom seen at rap shows before: thrashing. During “Riot,” mosh pits broke out in various parts of the venue and although security held a no-tolerance policy to misconduct at the show, the good-natured elbowing and jumping during the night wasn’t met with any repercussions. His aggressive lyrics tied together with his comedic and laid back demeanor helped set the mood for the night. Before introducing “Riot,” 2 Chainz took time to let his audience know that violence at his show was forbidden but then jokingly admitted that if any song were to provoke them, it would be “Riot.” The nature of 2 Chainz’s lyrics seemed to be irrelevant during the show and not in a bad way. Songs the mainstream would normally
consider inappropriate like “Bands A Make Her Dance,” “Birthday Song” and “Crack” were met with hysterical cheers. The amount of women in miniskirts and heels bouncing their backsides to the beat of the tracks matched the amount of mosh pits on the floor. At one point, 2 Chainz’s DJ, DJ E-Sudd, proclaimed the venue had transformed into a nightclub while the rapper randomly interjected with his now famous adlib, “true.” 2 Chainz did an outstanding job engaging the crowd and the size of the venue combined with his superstar status made it easy for fans to feel a connection with the rapper. “His stage presence was amazing; [his music] gets me ready to do anything,” said senior communication major Ashley Harris. As the night came to an end, the crowd rushed out in hopes of meeting the rapper at the designated afterparty at Blush. To say the least: he came, he saw, he turnt up. Email: email@example.com
From one Pitch to the next, 14 performers molded their notes into a high-class production. They created the sound of a full band using only the instruments they were born with: their voices. Last Saturday night, UB’s only female a capella group, The Royal Pitches, performed its annual winter concert in the Student Union Theater. The University of Rochester’s co-ed a capella group, After Hours, opened the show. After Hours managed to get the crowd in the SU theatre ready to listen to some a capella music. The group got everyone excited when they turned Alex Clare’s “Too Close” into a vocally layered a capella piece. With only one person actually singing the lyrics, the other After Hours vocalists emulated the sound of synths, drums, bass and sequencers, providing an impressive background. The crowd loved the group created the song’s electronic sounds using only their natural instruments. Next to enter the stage were the Royal Pitches, who were met with kinetic delight by the audience who approached the stage. The range of music they played that night was broad and expansive. It included a capella versions of the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” Alanis Morissette’s “Hand In My Pocket,” The Fugees “Killing Me Softly,” and a Beatles medley. According to the graduate student and musical director of the group, Kristen Mazurkiewicz, most of the musical choice just comes from the performers own personal taste. “We’ll say, ‘What do we have from last semester that we’re still singing and what do we need,’” Mazurkiewicz said. “If there are
fast or slow songs then we’ll try to let that guide us to what we need, but otherwise we’ll just ask what are people listening to now. I like that our group has such a mix of music.” Because they have so many of members, The Royal Pitches are able to always bring something fresh to the stage. With so many different personalities, there is bound to be diversity within the group’s collective music taste. “I’m excited to see the Pitches again,” said Keegan Burke-Falotico, former Buffalo Chip and first-year graduate student. “They always put on a good show, so I’m looking forward to see what new stuff they have lined up.” Throughout the performance, The Pitches would stand in a halfcircle or V formation depending on what type of alignment would allow all their voices to blend the best. While performing “Killing Me Softly,” the group meshed their voices together in a precisely executed harmony. It no longer sounded like 14 women singing together but like a fully mastered R&B song. For both Pitches and fans, the annual winter performance is an important part of the Fall semester. “This winter show is important because we aren’t actually SA orientated; we’re on our own,” said Naita Howell, group singer and a sophomore accounting major. “This show helps with funding, plus it’s fun. It’s something to help take the edge off during finals week.” By providing their versions of familiar songs, the Royal Pitches’ impressive winter performance helped students to end the semester on a high note. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Waves of love
Why you should date a musician ADRIEN D’ANGELO Arts Editor Love. Placing this as the first word of my column will take each reader to a different conjecture. When you read “love,” you’re brought to a place – an abstract environment where your memories, your personality, even your current state of mind construct the term’s definition. When we spread love, we concentrate our minds on devotion, positive energy and harmony. We break through the bulls**t and hone in on someone or something like a prayer. We take what is outside of ourselves and bring it into the emotional and physical platforms. To humor the reader, I’d like to state that love does all of this. But there’s another word for love that I discovered not too long ago: music. Feelings toward that special someone can be shallow, meaningful or indefinable, but can’t we say the same about how we feel about music? Perhaps the feelings of your favorite song remind you of a loved one or vice versa. Before I get too ahead of myself, I want to remind you that this column is my argument of why you should date a musician. But first, you have to understand that the musician whom you adore, or possibly don’t even notice, is already in a relationship. They’re already dating music. And it looks serious, whether it’s Facebook official or not. Playing music is like being in love for the first time; the giddiness, the intimacy – it’s all there in each movement, in each stroke. I used to joke with my bandmates about how we were making love when we practiced – but, in a more platonic way, that’s exactly how it felt. I feel like I know the people I play music with more than I know my own mother. Through sharing melodies, rhythms and chords, we share our own personality and reveal ourselves to others in an emotional and sometimes spiritual way. We intertwine our personalities in a metaphysical space where there are no boundaries between one person and another.
So while your “rockstar” boyfriend certainly still loves you, he’s really just joining your relationship into his relationship with music. This is how love songs are made: from the association of the subject with the medium – the joining of two loves into one. Don’t think this means his love for you is any less. In fact, the opposite is true. The greater an individual’s passion is, the greater their passion is for you. Within their expression is you. For you are a part of their personality. You are their creation and simultaneously create through them. You see their devotion to their music and you become that devotion. George Harrison’s “Something,” is a great example of how music can be a love for multiple sources. As part of the Hare Krishna movement, Harrison worshipped the female divine Goddess Krishna, who is one of many divine entities in Hindu scripture. Take a moment to listen to “Something” as a devotional polyamorous song. “Something in the way she knows/ And all I have to do is think of her.” These lines may be about a girl, but I think he wanted to show that his feelings of love go into and through a person, and inevitably into his Lord. This is the type of love that musicians encompass every day. It’s the most passionate expression I’ve ever found and through the divine intertwining of devotion for someone and something, you certainly won’t need no other lover. Dating a musician is like jumping into a pool of warm water, feeling the comfort of the energy and becoming what moves them. You may never find a relationship quite like this.
I don’t care how hot you look with that guitar SARA DINATALE Senior News Editor Those of you who are musically inclined – you’ve captured my heart one too many times. I have a habit of falling victim to the same kind of guy over and over again. I’m a sucker for the creative types. I have a weakness for fellow writers, especially if they’re able to put their words to a sweet melody. I’m not a relationship god. I’m no dating guru. But the majority of my romantic endeavors, both casual and serious, have involved musicians. From the ones who never took their guitars outside their bedrooms to the ones who sang in choral ensembles or the ones who had their own marginally successful bands – I’ve had my fair share of experiences. None of them ended well. So trust me when I say this: don’t date musicians. I’ve also seen friends suffer through the “I’m dating a musician” perils. It’s seldom ever an easy road. Sometimes they’re very talented. Sometimes they really suck. Bad musicians aren’t necessarily the worst to date, but they’re usually the most awkward.
The problem comes when they start writing their own songs, and they’re awful.
There is no nice way to tell someone you just started seeing you think it’s best they don’t go for that open mic night next weekend. Or, perhaps, this musician already has a band and a completely inflated understanding of how good they really sound. “Oh yes dear, that screamo-Michael Jackson vibe you guys are trying is totally working. Innovative, really.” But don’t think your troubles stop if you actually nab yourself one of the talented fellas. The ones who write lyrics with meaning and construct catchy melodies – that’s the real trouble. Writers, like myself, keep journals like musicians keep songbooks. I never would bring my journal to a date. I would never implore a boyfriend to read through my thoughts on past relationships. That would be crazy. But every serious musician is passionate. Chances are they will introduce you to their music shortly after you’re introduced to them. Boom. There it is. Their entire relationship history as told through .mp3 files. You’re either going to hear about how tough their break up was, how they’re not over their ex or how perfect some lady is who is not you. Bonus points if they write a song that’s clearly about their ex while you’re together. Precious. But because you like this person, you’re going to listen to these songs. You’re going to sing and dance to them at concerts. They’re going to get stuck in your head. Their songs exist as public record of their past romances. Try putting them out of your mind – you won’t be able to. It’s like you know too much too soon. And even when the relationship is over, the songs will still be there. They will stay in your head when you don’t want them there. All the files that were continually being emailed
to you throughout your relationship will be saved in your iTunes library. Even after thinking you’ve deleted them all, one will pop up while you’re listening to music on shuffle in your car. Your iPod will be out of reach. And you will sit there torturing yourself, because flicking off the volume didn’t cross your mind as a possible option. Song writing itself brings a whole other load of problems. There is something alluring and terrifying about having a song written about you. In theory, it sounds great. Like your love is being immortalized forever on a SoundCloud page and everyone will know how perfect the two of you are. But what if that song never comes? Your sane and rational mind tells you you can’t get mad, but you really just want to ask, “Where is my damn song?” And sometimes you’ll get your song … after a messy breakup. No one wants to be the plotline of a Taylor Swift record. But behind every breakup song is a story. It’s a different world when that story could be you. But every musician likely started as a bedroom musician, the ones who do music as a hobby on the side. They’re usually sweet and endearing. They will shyly play you a Beatles cover song that will make your heart melt – they’re opening up to you and being vulnerable. It doesn’t matter if it sounds like they’re gargling with gravel; you appreciate the sweet thought. When that musician graduates onto “bigger things” or becomes a “bigger douchebag” – it can be rough. But I mean, what the hell. If you want to date a musician, go for it. I never take my own advice anyway. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Continued from page 16: The Conti choir make up for it with his technical skill. It’s a skill he inherited from his father, who was an established wrestler and Chris’ coach throughout high school. “I didn’t ever think he was ever going to be a wrestler,” Alex said. “He had his mom’s disposition: a very kind-hearted child. He had a demeanor which was probably better suited for golf, which is why I say whatever he accomplished, he accomplished through extremely good discipline and simple hard work. He did above and beyond whatever I asked and whatever I expected.” Chris started racking in the achievements during his sophomore year. That year, he won the state championship over Kyle Dake in the 96-pound weight class. Dake went on to become the first wrestler ever to win three NCAA championships in three different weight classes. When he wasn’t wrestling, he was lettering in golf, tennis and track and field. Other times, he was singing. Chris took part in numerous high school musicals, ranging from Brigadoon to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He also was part of the Fredonia High School voluntary chorus, The Magicals, and sang in nursing homes and went caroling during the holiday season. He still loved singing, but during his high school years, he looked well on his way to be a star wrestler. He was pushed further down that path. “I definitely knew this was something I wanted to do in college because not only did I love it, but it was a chance to pay for college,” Chris said. “A lot of people don’t have that chance. It was something I was very fortunate and blessed to have.” Finding a voice in college A lot of seniors look at their freshman years with fond memories. Chris hated it. He spent a lot of that year in a neck brace. There were about 30 seconds left in one of Chris’ first practices as a UB wrestler. He was training with one of the coaches when the accident happened. “He just twisted my neck the wrong way,” Chris said. “I heard a popping noise and I was on the ground. Next thing you know, I was getting rushed to the hospital.” Chris left that practice with a fractured neck – an injury that would hamper him throughout his college career. He wore a neck brace for five months and had to spend
the year watching from the sidelines as his peers wrestled. Even though it was heartbreaking, the injury was a wake-up call for the Fredonia native. “I think after my injury, I think I understood that maybe I wasn’t going to go anywhere with this as far as wrestling in college,” Chris said. “I needed to start focusing on other things. I really started growing within myself with my singing voice.” So he practiced on his own. Rather than seeking out vocal lessons (Chris claims he’s only had three real ones in his life), he practiced everywhere he went: at home or at while practice. While driving his Pontiac G6, Chris sings with the music in order to practice. Chris gets extra practice performing with the Holy Genes, a quartet that consists of him and his friends in Fredonia. The group sings at various chapels around Chautauqua, N.Y. and records material on its own.It wasn’t long before Chris got to showcase his singing talents in the Buffalo area. Success Beichner knew of Chris’ singing capabilities since he was a child, so it was easy for him to vouch for his talent. The coach was the one who helped him get his first UB performance. Chris performed his rendition of the national anthem during a men’s basketball home game in 2009 through Beichner’s recommendation. It was the first of many UB performances, as his crisp, earnest rendition of the song constantly drew praise. Chris said it isn’t “his rendition” per se, however. The singer models his national anthem performances after his favorite musical act, the Gaither Vocal Band – a Southernbred gospel group. “If there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do – and you could’ve asked me this my freshman year of high school until now – it would’ve been the same thing,” Chris said. “I always wanted to be part of the Gaither Vocal Band … I’ve always respected quartet music. I was always into contemporary Christian music but was never really that into barbershop [quartets].” Last year, he saw his musical ambitions come into further fruition. That was the year he had a chance to perform at the NCAA Championships. According to Chris, Paul Vecchio, the former senior associate athletic director at
UB, gave a sample of him performing the national anthem to the NCAA committee. The group was impressed and in March, Chris was on his way to Philadelphia, Penn. to perform the anthem. The UB representative had no mic check prior to the performance, which is a procedure typically used to ensure audio quality and for the performer to find his comfort zone. Chris had forgone a mic check a while before the championship in his performance at a soccer match at UB Stadium, leading to a national anthem rendition severely hampered by echo. But on this day in March, there was little echo and all eyes were on Chris. He took that moment and shined. Many said his appearance was one of the best national anthem performances they’ve ever heard, according to Beichner. “I kind of put my head down, closed my eyes and just did it,” Chris said. “As I’m on my way through it, I looked up at the flag and just sang to the flag as if I was singing to someone.” Not too long after, Chris got a chance to meet one of his heroes – Mark Lowry, a baritone singer in the Gaither Vocal Band. The Holy Genes traveled to the Chapel at CrossPoint – where Chris frequently goes – when they heard Lowry was set to do a performance. Chris sent an email to the lead singer to ask if they could personally meet up with him, and Lowry agreed. “He’s like, ‘Can I hear you sing?’ And I sang for him and he thought I was great,” Chris said. “He said, ‘Can you sing on stage with me?’ He invited us on stage and we sang.” It was the Holy Genes’ only performance in Western New York thus far. End of a career Chris’ record (24-37) as a UB wrestler doesn’t say much about his contributions to the team. He doesn’t have the accolades senior John-Martin Cannon has and he hasn’t attracted the amount of attention former superstar Desi Green had. Beichner said the 141-pounder was a reliable, hard-working athlete who was determined to have an impact on the program. “He always does his job well,” Beichner said. “I’ve always been told a job not worth doing right is a job not worth doing. Chris does his jobs right.”
Chris was set to have many more highlights this year, but he reinjured his neck at the Virginia Duals last semester. After struggling with the injury throughout his college career, the doctors could not clear him to wrestle. Then came the heartbreak. “I remembered him in the office with tears in his eyes. He really cared,” Beichner said. “He wanted to compete but sometimes in life you got to move on, and he understood that after the last examination, that it was time to move on from the competition side of the sport.” Chris said he was able to overcome the disappointment with the support of his family and his girlfriend of two years, Marci Tirone. Beichner also offered Chris a position as a student assistant so he’d still be able to contribute to the program. Ambitions Chris said a good thing about his retirement is that it allows him to focus more on his music career. The former wrestler is taking steps to realize his dream to become a contemporary Christian artist even though he’s working on completing his degree. Chris constantly records material in his friend and Fredonia music teacher Stephen Raghunath’s studio. He’s also recently found time to join the Chapel at CrossPoint’s choir, which is something he wanted to do as a freshman but couldn’t find time to because of his busy schedule. Chris is gradually improving his singing ability in order to succeed in the professional music world. He remains realistic, though, as he’s well aware of the long hours and the hard work the career path requires. However, Chris believes wrestling experience will come in handy in his pursuit. “Overall, the sport is the best life trainer you can possibly get,” Chris said. “I totally believe that 1,000 percent because you learn every basic need you need to survive. You learn discipline, you learn how to how to deal with adversity. You’re gonna get hurt, just like life. You’re gonna get knocked down. It’s life … The sport tells if you get hurt, it’s how well you bounce back.” With a determination guided by faith, it looks like Chris is well on his way. Email: email@example.com
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Crossword of the Day
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 FROM UNIVERSAL UCLICK
ACROSS 1 Auto grille protectors
52 Disease of cereal grasses
5 Accompanier of means and opportunity
53 Alternative to a bikini
11 Pencil stump 14 Summit
55 Night before a holiday 56 Pasture, poetically
15 Tarzan, for one
57 Famous gem once owned by J.P. Morgan
16 Preposition in poetry
17 It falls mainly on the plain
63 Border duty
19 It may be civil yet raging
64 Put aside the inferior ones
20 Boulder-to-Pueblo dir.
65 Product pitches
21 Public contempt
66 Falls as ice
23 Playwright Edward
26 Words before a kiss 27 "Fawlty Towers" character 28 Bad-mouth
Edited by Timothy E. Parker December 5, 2012 COUNTRY CLUB By Ives Nelson 22 New Zealand native
58 Many a time
23 Duke's conference, briefly
59 Arrival-board word
24 Clay mixture
60 Bad way to be prepared?
25 "B'rith" preceder
61 Tall mountain
26 Conclude by reasoning 29 Casts off the skin 30 Mountain ridge 33 Agcy. concerned with air time? 34 One making introductory remarks
1 Setting for many jokes
36 Hang like a spaniel's ears
2 "His Master's Voice" co.
37 Hygienists' coworkers
3 "Who ___ to judge?"
38 Wooden shoe
32 Proposer or salesperson, essentially
4 Just had a feeling
39 Prefix for "sol" or "space"
5 Lion's pride
42 Greenwich time zone
35 Flyover country, to some
6 Goddess of abundance and fertility
43 Spiny, treelike cactus
40 Take back, as a public statement
44 "The ___" (Virgil work)
8 Grown-up bug
45 Cummerbund folds
9 Full of oneself
47 Denim magnate Strauss
10 One conferring honor upon
48 Twist badly
11 Rather recent
50 Close shave
49 Spartan serf
12 A Muse
50 "What did I tell you?"
13 October birthstones
54 "Just to name a few"
18 "Peek-a-boo, ___ you!"
55 Rotten grades
30 Goodbyes on the Island 31 21st U.S. president's monogram
41 Under-the-table item 43 Poultry delicacies 46 Certain parasitic creepycrawler
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) -You may have to dig deep into your bag of tricks before you come up with just the right thing to do in a sticky situation.
ARIES (March 21-April 19) -- Give and ye shall receive today -- but not in the way you expect. A member of the opposite sex has some different ideas.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) -- A portion of your winnings must be shared with someone who was instrumental in putting you in a winning position.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) -- It's up to you to say or do what must be said or done -- no matter how difficult things may get as a result.
TAURUS (April 20May 20) -- You don't have much time to get everything done, and your biggest mistake will be trying to do it all at once. Progress one step at a time.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) -- You know what you're up to, but is that enough? You must also bring several unusual skills to bear -- and let others in on the plan as well.
GEMINI (May 21June 20) -- There's a good deal you can accomplish in the privacy and comfort of your own home -- thanks to some recent technological advances.
LIBRA (Sept. 23Oct. 22) -- You have a surprise in store for someone who doesn't expect things to go to the next level just yet.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) -- Some confusion may result when you pull out all the stops and let your creativity loose. Others may question your intentions. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) -- It's a good day for a trial run of some kind, before you are expected to put your reputation on the line for good.
CANCER (June 21July 22) -- What you are after may not be available to you just yet -- but that doesn't mean the pursuit isn't worth it for other reasons.
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SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) -- You can give more than someone has asked for today -- but be sure to leave something for yourself as well.
Sports The Conti choir Senior Chris Conti seeks music career after wrestling BRIAN JOSEPHS Senior Managing Editor
Chris Conti, a senior environmental studies major, is getting used to his job as studentassistant coach of the wrestling team. His current job has him lending emotional support to members of the team. Whether it’s freshman homesickness or personal issues, the wrestlers can go to Chris if they need to talk. The senior takes pride in giving his peers motivation. This position is a bittersweet one, though. While Chris enjoys helping his teammates, there’s a place he loves to be even more – in the wrestling ring. Last semester, he was planning on spending his senior year trying to end his wrestling career on a high note. Those dreams vanished when the doctors advised him not to wrestle because of his chronic neck injury. He still sighs as he talks about the disappointment. And, yet, he still finds reason to sing. His Jason Mraz and Rascal Flatts vocal covers don’t sound like the voice of a man who’s weighed down by misfortune or the tenuous amount of dedication wrestling requires. His voice is clean, crisp and almost angelic. These are performances powered solely by his family and faith. Chris has made a name for himself in the UB wrestling program with his commitment and technical prowess on the mat. At the same time, he’s known as an undoubtedly talented singer. The former wrestler has performed the national anthem for numerous UB sporting events since his freshman year and had the chance to sing at the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships in front of 20,000 in attendance. The neck injury didn’t only end his wrestling career; it steered him further into his dream of becoming a contemporary Christian
Courtesy of NCAA Photos
Chris Conti, a senior environmental studies major and former wrestler, is becoming better known for his singing prowess.
artist. While Conti knows about the hardships that path may entail, he feels confident with his faith and family by his side. Conti Road There are a lot of adjectives friends and family have used to describe Conti: laidback, hardworking, disciplined. Chris isn’t the only one in the Conti family to be associated with these traits.
The Contis are a well-respected family within the Fredonia, N.Y. community. It’s a community Alex Conti, Chris’ father, grew up in. Alex recalled he and his family grew up in a farm house until he was about 5, when a few of them moved to another house down the street. The Contis still populate that same road and now, 24 of Chris’ cousins live there.
The road had a family that was filled with a diverse range of musical and athletic talents – from soccer to wrestling and from singing to instrumentals. It was also known for its closeness. “I probably never met a group of people who can multitask more than Coach Conti [he was assistant coach of the women’s 2012 Olympic national wrestling team and national junior team], Chris Conti and his family,” said head coach Jim Beichner, Alex’s lifelong friend. “This is the family that does a lot. There’s coaches, there’s teachers, there’s musicians, there’s singers … It’s a compliment to them they could manage so well and be so tight together as a family through all of it.” There is a Conti legacy at Fredonia High School. Alex is a physical education teacher, and his wife Stacy teaches there as well. Also, Alex said 19 of Chris’ 24 cousins went to the small school. Todd Crandall, principal of Fredonia High School, said the family carried itself respectfully as Fredonia High representatives. Chris upheld his reputation and made a huge impression on the school. High school life During his time in high school, Chris was a three-time Section VI champion, a threetime place finisher in the New York State Championships. He won the state championship once and earned the prestigious Illio DiPaolo Scholarship Award in 2008 – which is awarded to those who excel in academics and athletics. But just a few years back, he was too small to even make weight. He couldn’t wrestle competitively in junior high because of his size and still struggled to make weight going into his freshman year of high school. While Chris said he has been singing for as long as he can remember, wrestling is something he had to work on. He lacked power, but he later learned to Continued on page 12
Rolling through a Blizzard Bulls clip Slippery Rock, Canisius to win Blizzard in Buffalo
Joe Konze Jr. /// The Spectrum
Freshman forward Rachael Gregory listens to country music to get pumped for her women's basketball games
Jock Jams What are UB’s athletes listening to? JON GAGNON Asst. Sports Editor Athletes all over are seen sporting their headphones – whether they’re walking into UB Stadium, traveling or even relaxing during press conferences, it’s a fashion icon these days. But don’t overlook their true purpose. It’s 20 minutes ’til game time, and how better to get prepared than listening to your favorite jams to get you hyped up? Anyone who has ever played sports knows this: start listening to your favorite songs before a game and you get an instant rush of adrenaline, confidence and, most importantly, swagger. It puts you in the zone and gives you the focus to get ready to take on your opponent. Everyone has their own preference as to what pumps them up. For me, it would be “Burn” by Meek Mill. I’m here to deliver what some of the biggest athletes around campus use to get live to before their big games: Senior Matt Hogan, swimming: “Amazing” by Kanye West, “’Til I Collapse” by Eminem “They put me in the right mindset before my races. You got to believe you’re the best and going to win at that moment and the music really helps facilitate that.” Junior Javon McCrea, basketball: Gucci Mane Freshman Rachael Gregory, basketball: Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum “I know this is surprising, but most of the time it’s country. I like to listen to music that kind of calms me down, but if I do need energy, I’ll listen to Drake, Rihanna or sometimes Katy Perry.” Senior Tony Watson, basketball: Drake Senior Mark Lewandowski, wrestling: “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams, Jr. or “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash “It’s sort of how I was brought up. I was raised sort of that way, so it’s what I relate to most. So that’s probably what I feel most comfortable warming up to.”
MEG LEACH Staff Writer Last year, the men’s hockey team suffered a humiliating defeat in its own tournament at the hands of its cross-city rival. Losing two years in a row was not an option for the Bulls, (17-1) as they finished first in the Blizzard in Buffalo tournament over the weekend, with a 7-1 win over Slippery Rock (5-14) and an 8-3 finish over Canisius (15-5). The weekend started with the defense stepping up and making its presence known to the Rock Men at the start of the first period. Merely 13 seconds in, senior defenseman Craig Meany scored the first goal of the night. The Bulls’ penalty kill was memorable over the weekend, claiming three goals between the two games with the first two coming during the contest against Slippery Rock. With four minutes left in the first period, alternate captain junior Tim Root scored shorthanded to break the first-period tie. The first goal of the second period was also shorthanded. The score came from the stick of senior captain Matt Ganci. Sophomore goalie Shane Irwin was near perfect in the contest, only allowing the early first-period goal to slide past him when Slippery Rock held the man advantage. “Didn’t get great reffing this weekend ,” Irwin said. “So we were down a lot on 5-on3s where I had to make some big saves. But the guys are always good on the PK. Our PK is very strong and our power play is very strong.” In the championship game, the Bulls faced their cross-town rivals, the Golden
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 ubspectrum.com
Courtesy of UB Hockey
The club ice hockey team withstood a “Blizzard” over the weekend, beating Slippery Rock 7-1 and Canisius 8-3, to win the Blizzard in Buffalo at the Northtown Arena in Amherst.
Griffins. The competition between the teams is notoriously tight, and Buffalo assistant coach Steve Glick cited player history as a driving force of the game’s intensity. “As a competitive rival, it is as big as anything with them being so local,” Glick said. “A lot of the guys played against one another in high school and things like that. But it’s not a contentious relationship. I have all the respect for coach and the program he put up there and we love playing them and the competitive nature and the passion behind the game.”
Junior forward Tim Benner drew first blood only 18 seconds into the game with a close-range wrist shot that set the tone for the fast and penetrating game. Despite the strong performance, there was confusion on the Bulls bench. Bulls’ head coach Sal Valvo was called away for much of the first half of the game on business. “I think [Sal’s absence] is more of a mental thing for the guys,” Glick said. “I think they’re so used to the way things are done and lines get called and the bench mentality, and to change that up is something you have to be careful of and kind of tip-toe around.” Continued on page 4